or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Co-sleeping and the Family Bed › Anyone used Dr. Gordon's Methods?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anyone used Dr. Gordon's Methods?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi. I'm wondering if anyone has had success using Dr. Jay Gordon's methods for night sleeping. We started using it on Jan 1 (kind of a new year's resolution...) with dd, who was 11 1/2 months old. We had some success to the extent that she will go back to sleep without nursing, which she has never done before. We stuck to the plan for about 4 days, and then we were thrown off due to teething and work issues (i.e. mom had to work extra that week so she felt guilty and allowed dd to nurse unrestrictely all night in order to make up for lost time)....I know, it was not the wisest thing for me to do, but that week was just a crazy week where I was gone from home MUCH more than I usually am. In any case, that was 2 weeks ago. Last week, I didn't stick with the program because dd was still teething and I felt bad restricting her from nursing: for the requisite 7 hours. So, now, dd is back to her usual schedule, nursing every 2 hours roughly.

Do any of you have any suggestions? Should I start the program all over again and really stick to it this time? It apears to me that the older dd gets, the more she gets mad when she doesn't see my boobies at night. She will get in my face and look at me and pull on my shirt. Then, if she is way tired, she will go back to sleep. If she works herself up in a frenzy, however, she is wide awake and is sitting in bed babbling to herself. I'm afraid that I am creating poor sleep habits. I have noticed that her daytime naps are affected when her sleep is so fragmented at night. I am not opposed to allowing her to fuss it out in order to get her to comfort herself back to sleep, but I do not like the full blown cio approach.

BTW, we co-sleep at night and she naps in her crib during the day. She is now 12 1/2 months old.
-I have read the No Cry Sleep Solution book and have implemented some of the techniques.

Any thoughts? THANKS so much in advance!!

Libby--sleepless in Chicago

Saki---I love the comfort of mama's boobies and get soooo mad if I can't snuggle with them at night.
post #2 of 18
I would say start from the beginning. We started and stopped several times but each time she picked up on it a little bit quicker. The whole process took about 4-6 months for us . I would say have your dh comfort her at night. Since his nipples don't work the expectation isn't there. it is a slow process but it heklped us so much. Dd went from waking up every hour or two to sleeping 10-12 hours streight.
post #3 of 18
My first baby is due in a month, so obviously I have no practical experience yet. I do really like Dr. Gordon's philosophy and it sounds like a much less stressful way to night wean instead of CIO and so forth. Maybe give it another try for the ten days and see if it works for you? This technique seems like it could be modified for a family's needs - extend the number of days for transition and so forth as it works for your family. Good luck! I hear from my mama friends that toddler night weaning can be difficult but eventually everyone settles in and gets good sleep again.
post #4 of 18
Just a reminder for anyone reading this thread...Dr. Jay is adamant about not doing this nightweaning technique within the first year of life, unless there is an emergency situation involving the mother's health.

That means, according to Dr. Gordon, no forced sleep changes unless the child is at least 12 months of age.

Sometimes folks get excited about forcing sleep changes when their baby is too young and the parent is mighty tired.

Dr. Jay:

Here's what I really want to do: I want to offer an alternative to Ferber and Weisbluth and the Whisperer. I never want to see my ideas applied to a four month old or even a seven month old baby. As a matter of fact, I am not too excited about pushing any baby around at night but I know that sometimes it will be done and I'd like to offer a gentle, supported plan for after the first year. Before I go any further, let me express my overriding concern. Babies do better when we answer all their questions as best we can and meet their needs as best we can.
post #5 of 18
I know some MDC members are very anti-weaning/night weaning at any age. I guess I hold a radical view around here b/c I've always felt that Mom's sanity is priority #1 and if you need your child to sleep more and you cannot handle night nursing anymore than it's okay to night wean gently. But that's just MHO. I think each family needs to make this kind of decision based on what is going to work best for them, not by some arbitrary age guideline of 1 year, 2 year - etc. Not that that really applies in your case delighted.mama b/c it sounds like your little one is past the age of 1 anyway. I say this in no way to disrespect your post frogertgrl I know you are just sharing Dr. Jay's opinion and perhaps what you feel is best. I just wanted to share my viewpoint as well.

I did Dr. Jay when ds #2 was around 18 months. It went very smoothly with very little crying (all of which was done with him in my bed and my arms around him for comfort). It only took a week, but ds is very mild tempered. If you want to night wean you really need to be consistent - so I'd stay start over.
post #6 of 18
hi there delighted.mama.
we are in much the same boat as you. We were at the end of our tether with ds when he hit 12 mos and I started back at work. We did the gordon method and by night 6 ds was waking less and not nursing at night, and getting himself back to sleep. We were thrilled and discovering sleep again! Then the holidays, travel, new schedules and colds messed everything up and we gave in. Now we are back to being exhausted and desparate and are trying it all over again. I have faith in the approach and ds was not too upset with it, even seemed more rested and happier, but it really takes consistency, and that is hard. We've chosen this coming weekedn to really go through it since we are not going away or doing much and can handle being a bit extra tired for a few days. But I know what you mean; they just get stronger willed as they get older and we are worried ds will not be so adaptable now, at 14 mos....
let us know how it goes for you, fingers crossed...
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies for all of the responses! Keep them coming if any more of you have any further comments. I definitely welcome all opinions. Also, if you are aware of any other methods that have worked for you, please share!!


I will definitely let you know how it is going. I think we will begin by starting all over again, tonight. Good luck to you too!!

Fogertgrl (sp?),

Thanks for the post, but I am already aware of Dr. Gordon's disclaimer on the topic of night weaning. We started 2 weeks before dd's 12 month b-day, as I stated. She was hardly a 4 month old that was being forced to sleep. The reason we chose to do something about her sleep habits wasn't that I want her to sleep for a 10-12 hour stretch so that I could rest better. The reason is that every time she fragments her sleep by waking up, she is losing out on crucial REM sleep that is necessary for her growth and development. This, in turn, makes her crankier, more irritable, and less able to retain information, during the day. Thus, Dr. Gordon's comments, although taken into consideration, are not the only factors that we considered. There is a multitude of recent research on infant sleep habits and the effects of bad sleeping habits (i.e. disjointed/fragmented sleep). Those studies helped to persuade us that dd's "habit" of waking up and wanting to be nursed was harming her far more than forming different sleep associations, even if she had to fuss in our arms in order to do so.

Again, thanks everyone for your advice!!

post #8 of 18
Originally posted by delighted.mama
Fogertgrl (sp?),Thus, Dr. Gordon's comments, although taken into consideration, are not the only factors that we considered. There is a multitude of recent research on infant sleep habits and the effects of bad sleeping habits (i.e. disjointed/fragmented sleep).
I am aware of the research, yes.

I posted b/c the Subject of your OP referred directly to Dr. Jay Gordon, not 'a multitude of recent research'. You have clarified your OP and your daughter's 'bad sleeping habits'.

It is fair to Dr. Jay to state what he believes, when your Subject referred to him directly. There have been times here when folks are very tired and have heard bits and pieces about the success of forced sleep changes and do not know that Dr. Jay recommends waiting at least 12 months to force sleep changes.

Thanks for your clarification!
post #9 of 18
I'd be interested in your resources on the fragmented sleep. My girlfriend and I were just talking about it today, and as much as I wanted to believe it, I was skeptical, thinking babies must wake for a reason and that little ones (even up to a year??) are in a natural cycle that awakens them every x hours. Not that I want that to happen... I have an 8-month old and would LOVE for him to sleep longer. Maybe the fragmented sleep is only necessary for infants???

Anyway, I haven't forced the issue with ds. He currently wakes and nurses when he wants. And it's a lot!
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey Ladies! Hope all of your little one's are doing well!


After re-reading my OP, I see that you are absolutely correct; my original post could be interpreted incorrectly. I've read so many different parenting books/articles, that sometimes it is hard to keep it straight as to who is saying what!! In any case, I don't want people to think that Dr. Gordon advocates any type of sleep "training" (for lack of a better word) for babies under 12 months of age. ITO agree with him in this respect. I will definitely try to be more precise in phrasing my questions. I know what it is like to jump on the board and hear a tidbit about some topic and then find out that it isn't phrased exactly accurately!


The book you might want to check out regarding sleep fragmentation and the effect it can potentially have on a child is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. He is a leading pediatrician here in Chicago that has done a lot of research on infant sleep patterns, especially in the last 10 years. He is affiliated with Northwestern Hospital, a leading teaching hospital in the nation (I don't know where they rank exactly). Anyway, sleep habits is one area that has been overlooked in pediatrics. For that reasons, I am very leery about anyone (book or person) who talks about sleep habits if they don't have current data on how it affects children. This is a relatively new area that is just recently being thoroghly researched.

I have to warn you ahead of time, however, that Dr. W believes that a certain amount of crying may be necessary for your baby to learn to sleep for more consolidated stretches. This is kind of where I part ways with him, to an extent. He does not, however, advocate CIO. Instead, he notes that it depends on the child and when the parent beings to help their baby sleep alone. He does not advocate any type of "sleep training" until after 4 months of age. Until then, baby should sleep, whenever, he/she needs to.

He also offers a lot of testimonials from parents that have used his methods. Each of the testimonials describes various family situations and children of different temperaments. In reading the testimonials, I could relate to at least a few of them.

He also talks about breastfeeding and co-sleeping and how that may or may not affect how your baby sleeps. Finally, he addresses the opinions of other doctors who advocate other sleep approaches, i.e. Dr. Sears and Dr. Ezzo (or maybe it's Ferber...I don't remember now).

There is a multitude of references cited in the back of the book if you are interested in further doing research in the topic.

From what he says, from 4 months on, children need to have unfragmented, continuous and consolidated sleep. They need, biologically, to have a certain amount of day time sleep and a certain amount of night time sleep. If they don't get that sleep, then they are forming a "sleep deficit." This deficit accumulates over time and inhibits the child's ability to focus, concentrate. It leads to hyperactivity and ADHD, in extreme cases. For that reason, parents should try their hardest to avoid creating a sleep deficit for their children.

The theory is that some children who have been diagnosed with ADHD are actually kids that are chronically tired. The tiredness develops over time. It begins in infancy. The time that is lost, cannot be regained. All you can do is move forward. He talks about early bloomers who fade fast by the time they are toddlers because they are not getting consolidated, unfragmented and continuous sleep.

After reading this book, it made me rethink some of the other things I had read about sleep approaches. How you choose to approach the sleep issue is a personal decision, IMO, but it is good to do so armed with accurate information on how it may impact your child's later development.

Whether you choose CIO, which I personally don't like, or whether you choose a gentler approach (such as Elizabeth Pantely advocates in her book), it is up to you. The consensus from recent research is, however, that sleep fragmentation is counterproductive to a baby's development.

hope that answers some of your questions.

post #11 of 18
Wow, Libby-- Thank you so much for that helpful information. I am going to check that book out. I am not at all an advocate of CIO, but I also want all the information I can get to make the best decisions. I do want ds (and dd for that matter!) to be healthy and develop healthy sleep habits. Can't WAIT to read it!

I just picked up The Aware Baby and am curently reading Tears and Tantrums by Solter. Very interesting theories (?) about crying. And I believe she'll address some sleeping issues too.

Ugh. Is there ANY other topic that causes more confusion, concern, and frustration in parenting??? I know, I don't have teenagers yet!
post #12 of 18
I have heard of Dr. W. but I don't think his theories fit with my experiences of years of parenting. There are also parenting authorities who strongly disagree with him. It's enough to make our heads spin.

I had a baby who nursed very frequently even past the first year of life, even at night. After a few years she grew into the ability to sleep long sound stretches of sleep all by herself with no training. She sometimes slept through the night at two, almost always at three. I coslept.

She hit milestones early or on average at that time, she was robustly healthy and almost never caught the illnesses the rest of the family had while breastfeeding, and she was gaining weight well, so I don't agree with the theory that her nightwaking was harmful. (Her brother who was a better sleeper as a toddler hit many milestones LATER and was not as healthy! In fact HE was screened for a possible learning disorder later and she never had such issues.)

Breastfeeding at night feeds the baby's brain too with all those good fatty acids. It is understandable for a payroll mom to need more rest, but that does not mean that nightwaking is harmful or a bad habit.

James McKenna has some very interesting stuff about this I will try to post later. Also the book Our Babies Ourselves tells us that our Western emphasis on sleeping through the night in the first couple years of life is not shared by the majority of world cultures.

My own (school age) kids are waking up right now, gotta run.
post #13 of 18

If you're sleepy and you know it...

I have to say that I am reaching a desperation point here with dd (23months). I'm not physically capable of letting her cry it out (not that it would do any good. She's way more stubborn than me). And I haven't had much success with Pantley's suggestions. I still use them, but we never make the progress she promises.

What book is this that you all are talking about? I would love to check it out from the library. I'm constantly looking for alternatives and ideas for how to get my little one to go to sleep, and stay asleep!

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just a couple of comments to some of the above posts....

I'm familiar with Dr. McKenna and fully support his efforts to research the impact co-sleeping has infants. In fact, dh and I are trying to be a part of his sleep research on co-sleeping. He's at Notre Dame, IN, which isn't too far from Chicago.

I think the emphasis for Dr. Weissbluth isn't co-sleeping and bf, per se, but the baby's biological need to get a certain amount of consolidated sleep in order to reach their full developmental potential. Because they are unable to organize their sleep, it is up to the parent to look for telltale signs of sleepiness and try to help them have a restful sleep. This does not, in any way, detract from co-sleeping and bf. In fact, in his practice, 50 % of the families both co-sleep and bf. (I don't know how many of them are ebf'rs). He stresses the importance of "age-appropriate" sleep and the creation of bad sleep habits that parents enforce, unwittingly at times, on their babies.

IMO, however, as with many of these sleep books/theories, you have to pick and choose what works for you and your family. Some babies sleep easier while being held, some easier in cribs...etc.etc. It's good to be knowledgeable about the different theories before making a decision as to how to proceed, I think.

Just my 2cents...

post #15 of 18

can anyone tell me what this method is?

I would like to get my 8 month-old sleeping at least 3 or 4 hours in a row. Can anyone explain this method to me? It may be the thing I'm looking for, 'cause I'd LOVE to sleep 3 or 4 hours in a row. At the moment I'm doing at most an hour and a half at a time, although it wasn't always this bad, could be teething at the moment. But anyway, I'm open to suggestions!
post #16 of 18
You can find out more about theapproach at:


He also has a book (which I aven't read) called Good Nights!

Though as others have said he is very clear about not beginning this approach till your baby is 12 months. Personally that made a lot of sense to me and Ds seems more adaptable and secure at this age than just a few months earlier. Though I remember well my desparation at around 8 months. This too shall pass, and all that.....
post #17 of 18
Dr Gordon has a quote from Dr Weissbluth in his book and here it is:

"If vomiting is irregular and occasional, you should try to wait until after you think she is deeply asleep before checking, and then quickly clean her if needed."

So Dr W thinks babies as young as 4 months should be allowed to CIO until they vomit, then SLEEP IN THEIR VOMIT so as not to undo the training that you've just accomplished. ANYTHING else the man has to say is completely invalidated as far as I'm concerned. I lost ALL respect for anyone who could write such a thing!!! This is from the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Happy? Healthy? I don't think so!!!!
post #18 of 18
I think it was perfectly sensible of you to let your child nurse more often for the reasons you mention: you were away a lot and you wanted to let her keep up your milk supply and be comforted emotionally and also physically because of the teething, etc.

My honest opinion: Her nightwaking is NOT YOUR FAULT and shame on Dr. Weissbluth for giving you a guilt trip and threatening you with dire consequences, based on faulty logic and cultural bias...when you sound like a compassionate and wonderful mom who only wants to do the right thing.


I just read dozens of reviews of Weissbluth's book at Amazon.com
(quoting other parents who quote from the book.)

The book sounds awful! Dr. Weissbluth says there is a "magic window" where you must put a child down...not too awake, not too tired. He says "Perfect timing means no crying." His use of the word "magic" and "perfect" REALLY turn me off. He is telling parents, do it his way, or there is something wrong with you/ your child. I feel he is setting up parents to feel they have failed, if their child doesn't fit into his rigid mold. He says you have to consistently let your child cry themselves to sleep, even after their schedules are thrown off by illness, vacation etc. One mom wrote "I personally don't think this is right." I agree with her.

From what I have read of Weissbluth, I think trying to live up to his rigid expectations would have made me and my children miserable!!!

Crying-it-out is associated with levels of unhealthy stress hormones in the child, and even high blood pressure and overheating which can lead to SIDS. If Weissbluth recommends crying-it-out, I feel he operates from Western cultural biases so severe, I'm having trouble taking him seriously. (I'll put references below.)
I understand the idea that not getting enough sleep may have negative consequences on a child or adults; that makes sense. But I think Weissbluth is way off. I think a one year old still has an immature brain and will grow into sleeping longer stretches as as they mature...I don't agree they should be forced into it.

Some quotes from James McKenna about the science of infant sleep:
"any biological scientific study that attemps to understand 'normal' ... human infant sleep patterns without considering the vital role of nighttime contact in the form of breastfeeding amd maternal proximity must be considered inadequate, misleading and fundamentally flawed."

"Solitary infant sleep: a historical novelty; emotions, designed by natural selection and controlled by the limbic system of the brain, motivates infants and children to protest sleep isolation from parents by crying. These emotions undoubtedly evolved to ameliorate what was throughout our evolution a life-threatening situation: separation from the caregiver."


One year olds are notoriously difficult. Teething hurts them and they wake. They are learning new skills (crawling, walking, etc.) and they wake while practising in their sleep. My nursing toddler had a lot of growth spurts which would interfere with her sleep. Like teething, growing hurts. One year olds often (if it hasn't already happened earlier) develop a ferocious attachment to mom and it is not unusual for a child of that age (or any other) to wake more often to connect with mom at night if mom is busy (at home or away) during the day.

Add all this up and then look at breastfeeding. Nursing a child gives them your body warmth, slows down their heart rate, and relieves pain and creates feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. These are all chemical reactions, the biology of breastfeeding, but there is also love. I DO believe that nursing especially at night can become more give-and-take as a child matures, that nursing a toddler does not have to mean mom gets no sleep and is so tired she cannot stand it. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT if your child is going through a hard time and you have become exhausted.


The McKenna quotes above come from the Mothering issue which says on the cover "Sleeping With Your Baby, the World's Scientists Speak Out." His article alone has over 50 references to medical journals from various countries. It's the Sept. /Oct. 2002 issue (and Mothering sells back issues.)

Three in a Bed (Deborah Jackson)
Our Babies Ourselves: how Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Meredith Small)


There are also good articles if you do a search on the phrase "crying" at the homepage here at mothering.com
(Even if you do NOT believe in crying it out, these articles are interesting and in my opinion reassuring)
and also by searching for the phrase "crying" at http://www.drjaygordon.com

And also the link "parenting night and day" at http://www.kellymom.com

There are tons of McKenna links on the net, here are some

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Co-sleeping and the Family Bed
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Co-sleeping and the Family Bed › Anyone used Dr. Gordon's Methods?